At Cloverly, we can help offset or avoid the carbon costs of everyday activities. (You can find details here.) To do that, we invest in a variety of green projects. Here's 1 of them: the Garcia River Forestry Project.
It may sound strange, but logging can actually help a forest store more carbon—as long as it's the right kind of logging. Not the clear-cut logging that twice (most recently in the 1940s) turned the soaring redwoods and Douglas firs of the Garcia River Forest into stumps.
The Garcia River meanders for 44 miles in Northern California's Mendocino County, emptying into the Pacific Ocean just north of Point Arena. Most of the land in its watershed is privately owned. Decades of heavy logging had degraded not just the forests but also the streams and other wildlife habitats.
In 2004, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, the California State Coastal Conservancy, and the Wildlife Conservation Board worked together to buy 23,780 acres of Garcia River forestland from a timber company.
"Redwood forests can store more carbon than any other forest type on the planet," says The Nature Conservancy. "Careful forest management at the Garcia River Forest will allow this forest to grow bigger trees more quickly and capture many thousands of tons of carbon annually."
The Nature Conservancy holds a conservation easement that protects the forest from development and unsustainable harvest practices. Some harvesting, however, benefits not only the forest but also the local economy.
The Conservation Fund manages a program of what's known as light-touch logging. It thins out a quarter to a third of the total timber in crowded stands. The remaining trees grow faster, bigger, and stronger, thus storing more carbon than if the stand had remained untouched.
Such careful management improves water quality and restores habitat critical to many birds, plants, mammals, and fish, including the spotted owl, listed by the federal government as threatened, and the coho salmon.
The Central California Coast population of coho salmon is federally listed as endangered. In recent years, coho salmon have been observed in parts of the Garcia River where they hadn't been seen since the 1990s.
In 2007, the forest's first light-touch harvest took place. It created local jobs and sent 350,000 board feet of timber to the local mill. It was the first time in 7 years that the forest had contributed to the local economy through timber harvesting.
In 2008, the California Climate Action Registry certified the Garcia River Forest as a source of carbon credits. In 2009, independent verifiers of the forest's carbon offset status found that it stored 200,000 more metric tons of carbon dioxide that year than if it had been logged to the full legal extent.
"As we all know, parks are struggling to manage the lands they already own, and local governments, particularly in rural counties, don't like to see big swaths of private land put into parks because it takes it off the tax rolls and takes the land out of public use," said Chris Kelly, California project manager for The Conservation Fund.
"Why not own it and manage it as a productive forest and use the timber to pay for the restoration and management of the property?"
Cloverly provides an easy way for ecommerce consumers to purchase carbon offsets and achieve carbon-neutral shipping for their orders, at no cost to the store owner. For details, visit cloverly.com/how-it-works. Shopify store owners can get our Shopify shipping app by clicking here. If you have a Magento store, click here.